What is Family Law Mediation?

Eventually, you may find that you need a mediator in your divorce. You can ask for mediation services, or the court may see things aren’t going well and order mediation. In the State of Florida, mediation provides Family Mediators certified by the Florida Supreme Court. In a divorce, it’s common for disputes to crop up. It’s just as common for these disputes to be irreconcilable between the divorcing parties. This is why mediation services are so useful. Most contested divorce cases find resolution through mediation services.

The Florida Supreme Court has guidelines about how long divorce cases can last. This is because family law judges simply have too many cases to work through, and need to keep things moving. Mediators help do just that. They also help protect your pocketbook. Some lawyers know that resolving disputes outside of mediation is often a lost cause. Billable hour lawyers sometimes try to keep this process going to rack up legal fees. Many parties are caught in their ways and don’t want to move forward before mediation.

What is a Mediator?

Mediators are impartial parties that have rules they must follow. Mediators must remain neutral without a bias towards either party. This is so neither party can accuse the mediator – And the State by extension – Of “taking sides.” They will never force either party to an agreement they don’t want to make. Perhaps the most important feature is that they always work towards a mutually beneficial solution.

Courthouse or Private Mediation

All sorts of mediators are ready to help Florida families. Most counties have a selection of public mediators and mediation offices at the courthouse. These are available for families earning less than $100,000 annually. This is the combined income. For families earning between $50,000 and $100,000, there is a fee of $120 per session. Families earning below that threshold are charged $60 per session. Both parties tend to contribute to this fee, but they can request to be excused due to financial struggles. The downside can be that you have no control over who your mediator is.

The upside is that most courthouse mediators are highly qualified and fantastic to work with. The biggest downside is availability. Their schedules are jam-packed. Families that bring in more than $100,000 will need private mediation. Both parties must agree on who will mediate. Private mediators typically run around $200 per hour but may charge more.

What is the Process Like?

Mediation is a bit like a structured, controlled conversation. Both parties will prepare opening statements and prepare explanations of the present issues. It’s important to note this isn’t a formal courtroom procedure. It’s an attempt to reach a mutually beneficial understanding to move the process forward. It isn’t a place to be grandiose or blustery. Sticking to the facts and taking complex emotions out of the equation will help. Mediators will talk to parties individually and try to find a middle ground.

Mediators are an important part of Family Law in the State of Florida. There is a good chance you will experience the mediation process in a contested divorce. If you have questions on what to expect, give our experienced attorneys at Thompson Law a call today.